A sabbatical has traditionally been a paid break that a college professor was given every seven years. However, it has expanded far beyond academics. Now, more people than ever are taking breaks from their jobs, and they aren’t always paid. In fact, some people simply quit their job to take some time off before finding something new.
Paid or unpaid sabbaticals have a wide variety of benefits. Hundreds of companies offer sabbaticals to allow their employees to improve their health, recover from burnout, develop new skills, or determine a new direction for their lives. There may not be pay or benefits, but there is the benefit of rejuvenation and fresh ideas.
Should You Take a Sabbatical?
Taking a sabbatical from your business may seem riskier than taking a break from a job, but it doesn’t have to be. To set up a sabbatical, you just need to make sure the right staff and systems are in place to keep things going until you return.
A sabbatical can give you a very important chance to refocus, adjust, and get refreshed for the next phase of your life and business. You’ll find that you have a whole new sense of ambition after your sabbatical.
There are four primary benefits that taking a sabbatical from your business can have:
- New Perspective on Work. Many people who take a leave return so rejuvenated that they feel like they have an entirely new job. The rest and new perspective they gain from traveling help them return to work ready to work hard and advance in their career.
- Inspiration to Grow the Business. When you return after time away, you’ll find yourself looking at everything in a new way. This is especially true if you use the time off to travel, build new relationships, or develop new skills. You’ll return with a ton of new ideas on how to grow your business!
- Focus on Personal Goals. Life isn’t just about work. A sabbatical can help you have the time you need to focus on personal goals. You may want to improve your health, spend time with family, finally see Paris, or climb Mt. Everest. Those goals are just as worthy as your career, and after your sabbatical, you’ll return to work knowing you’ve achieved something that mattered.
- Avoid Burnout. Doing the same thing for years is a sure recipe to lose your passion. By taking a sabbatical, you can break your routine for more than just a long weekend or a one-week vacation. You can have extended time to clear your mind, reduce your stress, and focus on other aspects of your life. When you return to work, you’re refreshed and renewed. You extend the life of your career by taking sabbaticals.
What Steps Should I Take to Prepare for a Sabbatical?
The first thing to do is make sure you are following the sabbatical policy. If you own the business, you aren’t exempt from following the policies. It’s possible that you don’t have a sabbatical policy yet, and need to create one. Make sure you define what level of employees it applies to, the maximum duration of a sabbatical, and what benefits do and don’t apply during the sabbatical period.
Secondly, make sure you have a transition plan in place leading up to your sabbatical. Since you will be gone for at least several months, you’ll want to define responsibilities and who will cover them. Set up a timeline, and transition the new people into those responsibilities a couple of weeks before you leave. That way, you’ll be able to oversee the transition and have confidence that everything is in order while you’re gone.
Finally, define how available you will be. You should be reachable in times of emergency, but you need to be distance enough that you’re truly getting an extended break. Don’t put yourself in a position to be tempted to work during your sabbatical!
Taking a sabbatical leave can be scary for some people, but it typically helps more than it hurts. You’ll gain a new perspective, new ideas, and new inspiration. Your staff will stretch and grow, and you will avoid burnout and cynicism.
If you think that you can’t take a sabbatical because of inefficiencies in your business, I can help. My experience in growing and scaling your business may be just what you’re looking for. Learn more today!